As published in The Erin Advocate
Erin Town Council members bid each other some polite farewells at the end of their tumultuous four-year term of office.
Councillor Barb Tocher presented Mayor Lou Maieron with the council gavel as a souvenir of his service. It had been donated to Erin Township by Henry Wheeler in 1973.
“I’ve had the opportunity to serve this municipality as a councillor, mayor, county councillor and warden over the last 20 years,” said Tocher, who presented the others with stuffed Erin beany-baby bears. “It’s been an honour, it’s been a privilege. I will miss it, there’s no doubt. There isn’t a more interesting line of work. I’m looking forward to relaxing.”
Councillor John Brennan is the only member who is continuing in public office.
“The past four years haven’t been the most joyous for any of us, but despite that we have accomplished a lot, and I’m sure that we were acting from the best of intentions,” he said. “My thanks to all of you. It’s been not always enjoyable, but it’s been very real and also gratifying to work with you and overcome the obstacles that we did.”
Councillor Deb Callaghan, the only member not standing for office in the recent election, said her experience on council was not as enjoyable for her as for others.
“I would like to thank staff for their hard work, dedication and professionalism. I also want to thank my fellow council members – it has been a pleasure working with you this term. It has certainly been a challenging year – words like frustrating, trying, exasperating and discouraging definitely come to mind.”
She advised the new council to “look head, not behind; learn from the past, but do not focus on trying to place blame; you need to be cohesive and treat each other with respect; the mayor frequently said we need to paddle the canoe in the same direction – unfortunately we were not even in the same canoe.”
Councillor Josie Wintersinger was not at the meeting.
Mayor Maieron said it had been an “arduous” term but felt they had accomplished the majority of goals in his platform and that the new council has “a cleaner ship to sail”. He said he was frustrated when people had complaints about the Town, but were afraid to make them public.
“You elected a mayor for change, but did not bring a council with that much ambition for change. There are some great staff that work here, but there was also a sense of entitle-ism that needs to change.
“I sleep well at nights, because I did what I thought needed to be done. The incoming county councillor wishes to build bridges and I wish him the best of luck. But you’re going to find it difficult when the county takes a big portion of our taxes.
“I’ve kept my promise to the taxpayers and I’m proud of the job I did. It was a pleasure serving you.”